Virginia López Negrete, who will stand trial in the Manos Limpias case. | Teresa Ayuga


Virginia López Negrete, who was the prosecuting lawyer for Manos Limpias at the Nóos trial, is one of fourteen people facing charges that include extortion and membership of a criminal organisation.

During the trial in Palma, the lawyers for Princess Cristina, who was prosecuted by Manos Limpias and not by the state, drew attention to a demand made for abandoning the prosecution. It was allegedly not the only attempt at extortion. The general secretary of the right-wing Manos Limpias (described as a pseudo-union), Miguel Bernad, was arrested, as was Luis Pineda, the head of Ausbanc, an organisation ostensibly for protecting the interests of bank consumers.

A judge at the Audiencia Nacional high court in Madrid, Santiago Pedraz, has now completed his investigation of the allegations against Manos Limpias and Ausbanc. The trial of the fourteen can therefore be anticipated in the not too distant future.

Pedraz believes that Pineda was the head of a criminal organisation which used Ausbanc as the means of coercing banks, financial institutions and businesses with threats of legal action or spreading bad publicity about them. Bernad reinforced this coercion, which in other words amounted to extortion: pay up and there won't be actions. The same tactic was supposedly applied with the princess. Three million euros are said to have been demanded in exchange for Manos Limpias dropping the case.

Manos Limpias, the judge argues, was being financed by these means, and there are eight specific cases which form the judge's case against Pineda, Bernad, López Negrete and others. Nóos is one of them. Others include Banco Sabadell, Banco Santander, the Facua consumers association, Endesa and Volkswagen.